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October 19, 2007

Motherhood Attention Deficit Disorder

Play. I recently interviewed someone for an upcoming article and we both commented on the fact that the discussion was all over the place. Not that this was a bad thing, we both admitted we functioned well discussing one topic, going on to another, than returning to the original topic. Of course, we could operate on different levels simultaneously -- we were both parents.

This moment was the realization that I have in fact...Motherhood Attention Deficit Disorder (no slight to the many children who in fact have true ADD). I physically - mentally - cannot just do one task. Even as I write this posting; I have two e-mail tabs open and another tab waiting for me to google directions to a party place for another kiddie birthday party this weekend (mental note - wrap present).

As parents, we are never on one track. Our lives are much like the DVD remote control. Fast Forward to dinner - what are we having? Pause - I have to switch the laundry so the Karate uniform will be dry for tonight. Rewind - Did I pack the pizza form in dd's backpack? This multitasking life isn't because we are capricious beings. It is due to years of training.

I remember being able to vertically breastfeed while I ran for the phone (I must have really wanted to talk to someone that day). I can supervise art projects, make dinner, wash the dishes and negotiate who gets the blue paint next...simultaneously. These talents should really go on my résumé because they are absolutely needed in the real world. The ability to work on different levels is, in my opinion, essential in day-to-day life.

We can't as parents, just focus on the task at hand. We all have M.A.D.D. We have to because there is just too much laundry to be done. Pause Play.


October 17, 2007

Parent Club Tests -- CRAYOLA

Our Parent Club test panel was called on recently to sample some new Crayola Beginnings products. Everyone loves Crayola of of course we said YES! The Beginnings line is a new line of art tools for children aged 18-36 months; created with the help of occupational therapists, experts on hand and grasp development for kids. Of course, Parent Club is completely inclusive and therefore our test panel not only included the target age group but also invited toddlers & school aged kids to give the products a try.

TadDoodles Washable First Marks --
Suggested Price: $6.99

These egg-shaped characters are balanced so they tip & tilt but don't topple. The ink delivery system allows the markers to dry out in between uses and then be reactivated by dabbing them on the next use. Washable too!

Parent Club Panel: "They are way too big for 18 month old hands especially if you want them to use them to colour or scribble or what ever. The wide grasp is too wide for them to hold and is too wide for them to have any sort of control over writing or drawing or scribbling. (Mom/Teacher; kids 18mths, 2yrs, 4 yrs) " That quote sums up the general feedback. Too big a grasp for the little ones. The toddlers and school aged children liked the shapes.

TaDoodles Washable All-In-One Paint --
Suggested Price: $6.99

Similar to the markers, these paints are palm grasp shaped helping develop gross to fine motor skills. The paints can dry out and then be reactivated by dabbing on the next use. No dipping, spilling or dripping. Washable.

Parent Club Panel: "My kids were frustrated by the blotchy flow of the paints. They resorted to banging the characters on the table to try to reactivate the flow -- banging the table is not what I call a quiet art activity (Mom; kids 4yrs & 7 yrs)." The entire panel threw back a big hands down to this product. It still made a mess as the younger testers didn't realize which end was down and held it any which way they could. Perhaps a shape of a car or truck would work better as the kids would be able to understand wheels down. Plus they could make roadways as the car moved. These egg-shaped characters appear too much like balls for little ones to comprehend how to move them across the page.

Crayola Beginnings Washable Triangular Crayons -- Suggested Price: $3.48

Guiding little fingers towards a writing grip this product helps children learn the tripod position for controlled drawing (and writing later on). For ages 24 mnths +. Washable.

Parent Club Panel: "We liked these crayons. The chunky sizes was easy to hold. I didn't know about a tripod position until my child's teacher discussed it on parent-night. I wish we had these years ago (Mom; kid 4yrs)". This product was enjoyed by all panelists. Bold colours created fun art work by the children. The testers recommended this product for fun and learning for toddlers and school aged kids.

According to the Crayola website; art enables kids to hone three very important skills;
" Think, Choose, Act". As they think about what they will draw, choose the colours and then create their art...they are problem solving. Whether your child grows up to be a scientist, an artist, a chef or a parent -- Think, Choose, Act will be essential skills in their lives. Encourage your child, through art, to develop these very important talents.
Our thanks to Veritas and Crayola for giving us this interesting challenge.

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October 15, 2007

Birthday Party Postmortem


8 shrieking little girls
40 homebaked cupcakes (chocolate & vanilla)
2 extra large pizzas
2 Tylenol extra strength tablets
1 can of apple juice

One forgets how LOUD an assembly of little girls can was a deafening party. The t-shirt decorating was a fun activity and it was good to split the girls into two teams. Team 1 decorated t-shirts (and quite artistically I must admit) while Team 2 went to the 'spa' in the living room where our favourite babysitter awaited them with oodles of nail polish and tatoos. Hiring a babysitter for extra help was so SMART. She cleaned up activities, watched over the playing and even tidied up the toy room afterwards. This is the teenager I would like my kids to grow up to be.

Teams 1 & 2 married to decorate the cups and bowls (see the theme -- pj party -- cereal bowls & juice cups to decorate and a t-shirt to change into). Then -- our favourite -- decorating cupcakes with invisible frosting.

Invisible frosting was created out of necessity as my kids hate frosting. We mix icing sugar with water to create an invisible paint and use clean paint brushes to administer the sugar mixture to the cupcakes. Then we sprinkle; coloured sugar, sprinkles, chocolate shavings...onto the cupcakes. Because of the invisible frosting everything sticks. Super fun.

The best part was when everyone left, the house was clean and the kids were just tired enough to sit quietly playing with their new toys.